On the Tunney Side of the Street 52

by Jim Tunney

Coming up next... "The Catch"

After further review...Thirty years ago, January 10, 1982 actually, it was my privilege to referee the NFC championship game at Candlestick Park between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers. The 'Niners, under the direction of quarterback Joe Montana and the wisdom of head coach Bill Walsh, drove 89 yards in 13 plays late in the game to score on a pass from Montana to Dwight Clark.

"The Catch" is now famous in 'Niner lore. Montana, scrambling out of the pocket and being chased by Ed "Too Tall" Jones, threw wildly into the end zone. Clark, breaking his route, ran in the direction of that pass and leaped-some say higher than he had ever been off the ground-to catch the pass. The 'Niners prevailed 28-27 and proceeded to their first Super Bowl (XVI).

Moving from one super bowl T*E*A*M to another, the New York Giants benefitted from another legendary catch when wide receiver Mario Manningham (now with San Francisco) snatched a long sideline pass from Eli Manning with less than four minutes remaining in Super Bowl XLVI to set up the Giants game winning drive.

There have been many spectacular catches in the NFL's rich history, but none may have had more impact than the one that will never appear in Martellus Bennett's stats. Exiting the field after a recent Giants victory over the Green Bay Packers, the 6' 6", 265-pound Bennett (who had his best game with some physical blocking and three catches for forty-four yards), made his fourth catch of that evening.

Bennett said, "I was handing my gloves to some kids leaning over the railing, when a middle age man tried to take the gloves, but a kid grabbed the gloves and ducked". Bennett saw the kid's maneuver which caused the man reaching over the kid to fall about fifteen feet towards the ground. "So I just caught him, it wasn't that big of a deal", said Bennett. After "the catch", both fell to the ground unhurt.

"I guess I saved his life" said Bennett, a certified lifeguard and a fan of superheroes who likens himself to Marvel X-Men's Cyclops. "I've been 'catching' people for a long time. I was happy the guy was okay".

Will you look for someone who might be falling and in need of a "catch"?

To contact Jim Tunney for speaking engagements or to order his products, go to www.jimtunney.com
or email him at jim@jimtunney.com.